1. Mike Smith
Smith's favorite month of the season has begun, and so has quality play on his part. In the past four games, the goaltender did all he could to make the Coyotes competitive, stopping 40 of 41, 23 of 25, 36 of 38, and 34 of 36 shots. Management has made it clear that they're sticking with Smith, and stretches like this allow everyone to be optimistic.
2. Christian Dvorak
Shortly after last week's Hot or Not column was published, London Knight and Coyotes' prospect Christian Dvorak was named OHL Player of the Month for the second month in a row. He recorded 28 points in 12 games, surpassing his total of 26 from the previous month.
3. Trade frenzy begins
In a blockbuster deal this morning, the Winnipeg Jets sent Zach Bogosian and Evander Kane to the Buffalo Sabres for a package including Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, prospects and a first-rounder. The Yotes also picked up Mark Arcobello off waivers, possibly adding depth at center with trade rumors swirling around both Antoine Vermette and Martin Hanzal.
4. The Detroit Red Wings
The Wings have won three in a row, and are 9-1 in their last ten. Even more impressive is the fact that most of their recent success has come without starting goaltender Jimmy Howard, who exited with a groin injury during a Jan. 10 game against the Capitals.
5. Erik Cole's magic puck
Erik Cole scores an empty netter from the Texas Schoolbook Depository (too soon?)...or was it the grassy knoll? Or was it even Erik Cole at all?
1. Stuck in rebuilding limbo
Spoiler alert: The Coyotes aren't going to make the playoffs. However, neither are the Buffalo Sabres, Edmonton Oilers, or a handful of other teams who could end up with worse records than Arizona. No team with pride is going to intentionally lose games, especially with a guy like Dave Tippett at the helm. Will the Coyotes clean house and start from scratch, or will the process be more of a renovation than a completely new project? We will all know soon enough.
2. McMillan to waivers again
For the second time this season, forward Brandon McMillan was waived, this time following the addition of the aforementioned Arcobello. His stats have been disappointing this year (one goal and two assists in 50 games), and he will likely head to Portland should he clear waivers.
3. Yandle's point streak ends
Entering last night's game against the Blues, Keith Yandle possessed a league-leading 7-game point streak, which unfortunately came to an end when he failed to record any points during the 2-1 loss. So long point streak, we hardly knew ye.
4. The Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs reappear on the list this week even though they ended their franchise-record losing streak with a win over (surprise!) the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. They've sunk to 13th of 16 in the Eastern Conference, and 25th of 30 in the NHL.
5. Hockey players & Hogwarts
Watch a few NHL stars try to name the four houses from the Harry Potter series: